Traditional animation (also called cel animation or hand-drawn animation) was the process used for most animated films of the 20th century. The individual frames of a traditionally animated film are photographs of drawings, first drawn on paper. To create the illusion of movement, each drawing differs slightly from the one before it. The animators’ drawings are traced or photocopied onto transparent acetate sheets called cels,which are filled in with paints in assigned colors or tones on the side opposite the line drawings. The completed character cels are photographed one-by-one against a painted background by a rostrum camera onto motion picture film.
The traditional cel animation process became obsolete by the beginning of the 21st century. Today, animators’ drawings and the backgrounds are either scanned into or drawn directly into a computer system.Various software programs are used to color the drawings and simulate camera movement and effects. The final animated piece is output to one of several delivery media, including traditional 35 mm film and newer media with digital video. The “look” of traditional cel animation is still preserved, and the character animators’ work has remained essentially the same over the past 70 years. Some animation producers have used the term “tradigital” to describe cel animation which makes extensive use of computer technologies.
Examples of traditionally animated feature films include Pinocchio (United States, 1940), Animal Farm (United Kingdom, 1954), and The Illusionist (British-French, 2010). Traditionally animated films which were produced with the aid of computer technology include The Lion King (US, 1994), The Prince of Egypt (US, 1998), Akira (Japan, 1988), Spirited Away (Japan, 2001), The Triplets of Belleville (France, 2003), and The Secret of Kells (Irish-French-Belgian, 2009).
Full animation refers to the process of producing high-quality traditionally animated films that regularly use detailed drawings and plausible movement, having a smooth animation. Fully animated films can be made in a variety of styles, from more realistically animated works those produced by the Walt Disney studio (The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King) to the more ‘cartoon’ styles of the Warner Bros. animation studio. Many of the Disney animated features are examples of full animation, as are non-Disney works, The Secret of NIMH (US, 1982), The Iron Giant (US, 1999), and Nocturna (Spain, 2007). Limited animation involves the use of less detailed or more stylized drawings and methods of movement usually a choppy or “skippy” movement animation.  Pioneered by the artists at the American studio United Productions of America, limited animation can be used as a method of stylized artistic expression, as in Gerald McBoing-Boing (US, 1951), Yellow Submarine (UK, 1968), and certain anime produced in Japan. Its primary use, however, has been in producing cost-effective animated content for media for television (the work of Hanna-Barbera Filmation, and other TV animation studios) and later the Internet (web cartoons).
Rotoscoping is a technique patented by Max Fleischer in 1917 where animators trace live-action movement, frame by frame. The source film can be directly copied from actors’ outlines into animated drawings, as in The Lord of the Rings (US, 1978), or used in a stylized and expressive manner, as in Waking Life (US, 2001) and A Scanner Darkly (US, 2006). Some other examples are: Fire and Ice (US, 1983), Heavy Metal (1981), and Aku no Hana (2013). Live-action/animation is a technique combining hand-drawn characters into live action shots or live action actors into animated shots. One of the earlier uses was in Koko the Clown when Koko was drawn over live action footage. Other examples include Who Framed Roger Rabbit (US, 1988), Space Jam (US, 1996) and Osmosis Jones (US, 2001).
I’ve always been intrigued with the idea of transferring my illustrative skills on to television screens for educational, commercial or entertainment purposes, and while i had been able to acknowledge that i would love to embark on the journey to achieving this someday, the issue of procrastinating always set in. This project gave the chance to be able to delve in without setting limitations for myself. One of the keys to creating animation is possessing a good draughtsmanship ability. I’ve consistently worked towards being able to attain that and still work towards being able to achieve a visual language I will comfortable with, but just having that isn’t the end all. The ability to understand the physics and mechanics of how the sum of the human body works while in motion and transferring that on to flat surface via drawing is important, which is where careful study needs to be undertaken.
Other animation approaches include stop-motion and computer animation.
INFLUENCES / INSPIRATIONAL FIGURES
Aaron Blaise is a visual artist, concept designer/ artists, illustrator and animator. He has been pivotal to the development of major/lead characters within 2d animation. The Lion King, Mulan, Beauty & the Beast, Pocahontas, Aladdin as well as directing the award nominated Brother Bear are projects he has executed. As an illustrator, he has over 27years of experience within the animation industry, 21 of which were as director at both Disney Feature Animation and Digital Domains’ Traditional studios. His attention to detail in the creation of compelling characters and
unique world environments are remarkable. He also engages in the creation of storyboards for animated movies. The mastery and the continuous employ of the hand drawn animation technique (whether by utilising traditional media or digital tools that convey the same effect) in today’s climate where there is over reliance on 3d applications and computer generated imagery, is what I find most appealing, as I have always been fascinated with translating my hand drawn illustrations.
Shane Richard Acker is an American filmmaker known for directing 9, which is based on his 2005 Academy Award-nominated short film, of the same title. He is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles. Upon graduating in 1999, he decided to become a film-maker and went to study at UCLA’s Animation Workshop. There he created The Hangnail, The Astounding Talent of Mr. Grenade, and 9, and earned in 2004 a master’s degree in animation. His original short titled 9 took him four and a half years to complete and was released in 2005.
Acker wrote, directed, and co-animated the award-winning animated short film 9, which won a student award and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film and was shown at SIGGRAPH Electronic Theater. Tim Burton (Beetlejuice, Batman and The Nightmare Before Christmas) saw Acker’s short film and, with the help of Timur Bekmambetov (director of Wanted) from Focus Features, made the feature film with Attitude Studios in Luxembourg and Starz Animation in Toronto.
He is also a visiting professor at Loyola Marymount University. Acker is currently “Artist in Residence” at Gnomon School of Visual Effects, a provider of online tutorials for visual effects artists. He has been working at Gnomon on a short film Plus Minus, co-directed by Aristomenis Tsirbas and due for release in late 2011.